Chalice Bartholomew : Work Placement

I’m Chalice Bartholomew and I’m a second year radio production student at the University of Brighton. I decided to apply for the SP-ARK placement as I really enjoy films, I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to create a podcast for aspiring film students.photo(1)

I found it fascinating visiting the archive; I can’t say that I’ve ever done that before. The fact that there were such intricate pieces of SP-ARK’s history right in front of you was astonishing. Being able to look at certain drawings and seeing props, then being able to pin point them when watching the film was completely surreal experience.

I really enjoyed working within the SP-ARK team I found everyone welcoming and enjoyable to work with. Adam and myself mainly worked within a freelancing environment, which was the first time either of us have done this. It was strange experience, but we ended up working well and professionally together. I found that working within my own environment, helped me to push forward my ideas and have confidence with them.

As a whole my favourite part was the process of creating the podcast, from having the basics then the journey of creating for a professional website. We found that the staff were professional and open to us putting our own mark and interpretations within the podcast.  I had learnt a new skill through transcribing; it was interesting listening to all the tiers that created different aspects of the film.  I feel that as a production student, that a student would benefit from this podcast , as it gives them the photo(5)information for their potential route into the industry.

I found that the experience helped me further improve my skills that I’ve learnt on my course. I also now feel a great sense of achievement in what we’ve created only within a number of weeks, I’m extremely proud with our work.  I’ve also learnt how to work within a professional environment, stick to the deadlines and overall how to create a successful podcast.

Adam Johnson : Work Placement

photo(2)I’m Adam Johnson and I’m a second year radio production student at the University of Brighton. The reason that I applied for the SP-ARK position, is that I’m an avid listener of podcasts such as This American life and Radio lab, I thought that a podcast would be an interesting challenge for myself.

I found that the SP-ARK team were very interested in our thoughts, and I found it refreshing that they were taking such awareness in the students progressing their studies through using the SP-ARK archive.  The freelance aspect was an experience also, as I found it a better atmosphere to work either within the University or in my own home.

The process of creating the podcast was extremely satisfying for me, as listening to them on a regular basis I wanted to bring in the engaging atmosphere I hear weekly. I feel that we did that by using the different interviews of the production; the interviews I felt were extremely engaging. I’m not from a film background but I found that the interviews were fascinating as they’re not your typical interviewee’s, stereotypically when you think of film interviews you expect the main cast or crew ,  but it was refreshing from a production side to hear the multiple layers to how the film was constructed.photo(5)

Overall I feel that it has further enhanced my skills, now I feel confident I can make a broadcast worthy podcast. I feel a sense of pride within our work, in what we’ve managed to achieve within a couple of weeks.  I also have formed new skills from the transcribing , it was an extremely tedious process, but it’s a skill I would be able to take with me in the future.

An introduction to SP-ARK from Sophie Mayer

Here at Adventure Pictures there have been a lot of new beginnings – a new website, a new film (underway) and a new and improved SP-ARK. As we focus on the future developments of SP-ARK it is important to look back at where it began. I have copied below a blog post the talented writer, poet and all round person extraordinaire Sophie Mayer wrote in her role as Education Consultant on SP-ARK starting back in 2006.

The first film that Sally Potter ever exhibited publicly – in London in 1968, ten years before Thriller made its first appearance – was the backdrop to a dance piece called Daily. A very early example of multimedia in live performance, it was, though, more than a backdrop. It showed the dancers in ‘daily’ acts in their houses, like cleaning and watering plants. On stage, the same dancers repeated the gestures shown on the film, interacting with their screen avatars. Potter produced something similar, albeit on a larger and more complex scale, for Combines (1972), a legendary piece by Richard Alston’s Strider company, of which Potter was a founding member. Blown-up Polaroids of the dancers in rehearsal dominated the stage and projected behind them was looped rehearsal footage repeating single gestures.

At the end of the film there is a sequence that stands out: no longer focused on the dancers in the rehearsal space, it shows bodies jostling as they climb the stairs. In a witty echo of the iconic opening scene of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Red Shoes, in which the balletomanes and opera lovers race each other up the stairs at Covent Garden, the final sequence of Combines impossibly shows the show’s audience rushing in. Potter went on to experiment with using CCTV camera relays within live performance, an experiment that reached its apex in Carmen at the English National Opera in 2007, where Carmen first appears projected onto a scrim over the stage as she looks up into a CCTV camera located outside the Coliseum, the ENO’s home theatre.

For that production, Potter’s team and ENO Interactive built an innovative mini-site (including video clips that provide a complete education in how to stage an opera) But the Carmen site was only one strand of Potter’s commitment to outreach and interactivity. The latest move to bring the audience onscreen, as at the end of Combines, is a site called SP-ARK, the Sally Potter Online Archive. Just as a glimpse at the Carmen site could show you how to audition a chorus or do a sitzprobe, SP-ARK uses the materials from Potter’s private archives to provide an A to Z of filmmaking.

Now in its first phase of development, the SP-ARK site hosts just a fraction of the available material for Orlando and that’s still over 2500 individual items, from early idea’s for the film through multiple drafts of the screenplay to continuity sheets showing how the finished film came together. And being a filmmaker’s archive, it’s multimedia, with video rushes, set photography and screen tests.

But unlike other online archives, this is not just a gallery of documents and objects but an interactive project designed to bring together filmmakers, film scholars and film viewers. The really innovative aspect of SP-ARK is that it pulls together the ability of Web 2.0 to host and stream multimedia and its social networking capabilities, allowing you to tag and blog your way around the site, as well as commenting on blogs by other users, who may be senior academics, Potter’s collaborators (such as composer and musician Fred Frith), students or fans. SP-ARK is developing a unique kind of linked blog called a pathway, where you can attach notes to a series of objects you’ve chosen from the archives. You can see the pathway idea being piloted– with Post-It notes, pushpins and string – by some brave and intrigued MA students from the Department of Media and Communications at London University’s Goldsmiths College, which is collaborating on testing of the SP-ARK prototype.

What that workshop showed is that new media is creating exciting new ways of thinking and organising information, in which audio-visual resources and the reader/user/viewer are coming closer together – something which Re:frame also builds on. It’s something that Potter’s work has explored with audiences and performers since Combines. Now SP-ARK takes this a step further by allowing its users, wherever they are in the world, to interact either by chance encounters when their pathways overlap or via a dedicated messaging system.

Re:frame’s users have an exclusive opportunity to become a part of this next-generation interactive audience for Potter’s work by contributing to the beta-testing of SP-ARK. You can sign up for a username and password by emailing beta@sp-ark.org. And the rest, as Orlando might point out, will be history!

An early layout for SP-ARKImage

Using SP-ARK to aid essay writing

SP-ARK-pathwat-screen-shot

I’m a second year film student at QMUL and as part of a module I take called ‘Film, Literature and Adaptation’ we are studying Sally Potter’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. The focus of study was on the way Potter as a filmmaker approached the task of transferring Woolf’s literary text to the screen, and what it could be argued was lost or gained in this transfer. We were asked to think about the intertextual nature of the film, and to construct a pathway on SP-ARK that reflects that idea.

I thought it best to focus on one specific theme within the book and concentrate on the way Sally Potter had attempted to portray this theme in the visual medium of film. I chose to focus on the theme of gender because it is such a prominent theme in both works, but also because the book portrays gender as a physical trait that does not change Orlando’s essential character – a concept which is takes on a very different form in a visual, rather than literary, medium.

I started off by just browsing through the different categories on SP-ARK, getting a feel for the site and the sort of information it provides. I looked at some of Potter’s notes, images collected by her for research, extracts from the book and storyboards. Each item on the site is ‘tagged’ at the side with various themes that you can click on to be taken to other items that relate to the same theme.  I noticed that a page of Sally Potter’s notes was tagged with the word ‘gender’ so I clicked on that and was redirected to a whole range of related resources.

From there I browsed through looking for items that related to the visual portrayal of gender. I wanted to talk about the casting of Tilda Swinton as Orlando so I picked two photos of her taken in the same room, one where she is dressed as male Orlando, and one where she is female Orlando, added them to my pathway, and typed up the ideas I had about the images. I also found an image of Quentin Crisp in costume as Queen Elizabeth I, which let me to think about the significance of his career in that casting decision. I continue to browse through the site, jumping through different themes by using the tags, finding photos, videos, notes and drawings which helped generate new ideas about the concept I was addressing.

Once I had finished my pathway I decided to look at some pathways created by other people that related to the same ideas. Looking through them gave me more ideas to link back into my own and led me to other item I hadn’t seen before. With all the information and ideas I had created I was ready to write the essay that were requested to submit with the pathway. I was able to refer directly to specific resource materials in my essay and to talk about the process that Sally Potter had been through as a filmmaker to transform the book into the film, something that would not have been possible without the site.

by Ros Atwood

Ros Atwood started working as an intern on SP-ARK in February 2012. Ros is currently in the second year of her Bachelor degree in Film Studies at Queen Mary University London.

GINGER & ROSA Trailer

The trailer for Sally Potter’s new film GINGER & ROSA has just been released following its World Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

Critics describe the film as “intimate and sensual” (Indiewire), “with a gleaming intensity” (The Guardian) and a central performance from Elle Fanning that is “simply extraordinary” (Hollywood Reporter).

GINGER & ROSA

Posted on August 18, 2012 by


Sally Potter’s new film, GINGER & ROSA, will have its world premiere in Toronto on Friday 7, September.

GINGER & ROSA is also invited to the New York Film Festival in October.

Here’s the piece on the film from the NYFF programme

In 1962 London, two teenage girls, best friends since they were toddlers, are driven apart by a scandalous betrayal. Making her NYFF debut, writer-director Sally Potter has crafted an intimate, riveting coming-of-age story – one made all the more powerful by a revelatory performance by Elle Fanning as the bright, anxious Ginger, increasingly affected by both the misery of her parents (deftly played by Alessandro Nivola and Christina Hendricks) and the era’s all-too-real fears of nuclear destruction. As her private dramas unfold against the backdrop of broader historical terrors, Ginger proves to be one of cinema’s most fascinating and formidable young heroines. Talented newcomer Alice Englert, the daughter of filmmaker Jane Campion, makes her impressive feature film debut as the troubled Rosa.

Full cast and crew details on IMDB 

IT’S A WRAP

Posted on April 19, 2012 by Photograph of Alice Englert and Elle Fanning by Nicola Dove © Adventure Pictures Ltd

Principal photography on Sally Potter’s new film has been completed after a five-week shoot on location in and around London.

This new project is Sally’s seventh feature film, with an exceptional cast, including Elle Fanning, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt, Jodhi May, Annette Bening and Alice Englert.

Written and directed by Sally Potter, the producers are Christopher Sheppard and Andrew Litvin.

Here is the synopsis:

London, 1962.  Two teenage girls – Ginger and Rosa ­- are inseparable; they play truant together, discuss religion, politics and hairstyles, and 
dream of lives bigger than their mothers’ frustrated domesticity. But, as
 the Cold War meets the sexual revolution, and the threat of nuclear
 holocaust escalates, the lifelong friendship of the two girls is shattered 
- by the clash of desire and the determination to survive.

Photograph of Annette Bening and Elle Fanning by Nicola Dove © Adventure Pictures Ltd

The film is an Adventure Pictures Production, presented by the British Film Institute and BBC Films in association with The Match Factory, Ingenious, Media House Capital, the Danish Film Institute and Miso Film.

Co-producers are Peter Bose, Jonas Allen, Lene Bausager and Michael Weber with the following as Executive Producers: Reno Antoniades, Aaron L Gilbert, Goetz Grossman, Joe Oppenheimer and Paula Alvarez Vaccaro.

The Match Factory is handling international sales on the film, and pre-sales have been completed for Australia (Transmission) and Scandinavia (Future Film), with Concorde Filmverleih set as the German distributor.

Photograph of Alice Englert, Elle Fanning, Sally Potter and crew by Nicola Dove © Adventure Pictures Ltd

Sally Potter directed her first feature, THE GOLD DIGGERS, starring Julie Christie, in 1983. Potter then made a short, THE LONDON STORY, and several documentaries before the internationally acclaimed and multi-award winning ORLANDO (1992), starring Tilda Swinton, which Potter adapted from Virginia Woolf’s classic novel. This was followed by THE TANGO LESSON (1996) and THE MAN WHO CRIED (2000), starring Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchet. In 2004 Potter made YES, starring Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian, and Sam Neill. Potter’s last feature film, RAGE (2009), starred Judi Dench, Jude Law, Steve Buscemi, Simon Abkarian and Dianne Wiest and was the first film to premiere simultaneously in cinemas and on mobile phones.

Full Cast and Crew 

All Press Enquiries 


Mobile Filmmaking

…Michelangelo was there first.

Sally Potter filming Lily Cole as Lettuce Leaf in 'Rage'

In RAGE, Sally’s 2009 film which defied all the usual conventions of cinema, the character Michelangelo, unheard and unseen throughout, managed to film his interviewees using only his mobile phone, before secretly posting the interviews on his website.

Throughout the film, the characters begin to open up to their interviewer, naively mistaking his age and lack of professional equipment as a sign of unimportance. The worry of minding what is said in front of the camera all but disappears, it’s a phone after all. If what was being filmed were being seen somewhere important, he’d be using a better camera, surely?

At the time of filming, back in 2008, the possibility of actually shooting the film on a mobile phone was strongly considered. Tests were shot, and a number of different phones and their capabilities were looked at, but at the time the technology just wasn’t able to produce a watchable film on the big screen (though it certainly would have been possible for Michelangelo’s needs). In the end, for creative reasons, it was decided the film be shot on the Panasonic HVX-200, a mid-range professional camera that produced the clean, almost amateurish look of digital that Sally and Steve Fierberg, the Director of Photography, were trying to achieve, while still feeling cinematic enough that an audience could stand to watch an entirely handheld ninety minutes of interviews in a cinema.

Jude Law as Minx in Sally Potter's 2009 film 'Rage'

Three years on, and as technology has advanced, so has the possibilities. The chips and lenses required to achieve a high-quality image have gotten smaller, and the feature-set of phones has rapidly expanded. South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook, director of critically acclaimed Oldboy, Lady Vengence and I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK, joins the fast growing list of filmmakers who have produced films entirely on a mobile phone. For his latest short film, Paranmanjang, or ‘A Life Full of Ups and Downs’, Park made use of the iPhone 4.

“The new technology creates strange effects because it is new and because it is a medium the audience is used to,” Park explains, “There are some good points of making a movie with the iPhone as there are many people around the world who like to play and have fun with them”.

Park isn’t alone in this endeavor, a growing number of filmmakers are making the most of the possibilities this technology has created. You can view a number of music videos shot on the iPhone here.

RAGE was made on a budget of $100,000, quite a feat considering the end product and the cast involved. It was branded as a new style of filmmaking, ‘Naked Cinema’, and the point was to prove that films can be made on a budget, without being wasteful with your spending. The iPhone, and a number of other phones on the market, are staying true to this claim, making it possible for any filmmaker to make the project they want to make, without needing the budget of a blockbuster.

Casting Call – CLOSED!

We are in the process of casting Sally Potter’s new film and are looking for two teenage girls, aged 14 to 18, for the leading roles.

If you want to be considered in the casting process, we invite you to contact us. The film will shoot in the UK and Ireland over the summer holidays.

To begin with we want you to post a short video of yourself performing part of a scene from the film, and if we like what we see, we will invite you to come to an audition.

About the audition

The story is set in London in 1961 at the time of the “Ban the Bomb” movement. Ginger and Rosa are nearly 16 and lifelong best friends who do everything together. Ginger is the “brainy” one who wants to get involved in the antinuclear protests while Rosa is more interested in boys.

You can choose to be either Ginger or Rosa in your video: it doesn’t matter which and will not affect your chances of being considered for both roles. You can do the whole scene sitting down and we only need to see you on the video. The other part can be read for you by someone else – a friend, someone from your family or a teacher – who we will not see in the video.

Please start by introducing yourself to camera. Please face the camera and make sure we can see your face and hear you clearly. A head and shoulders shot is best. There is no need for any costume or special location.

Tell us your name, your age and where in the country you are from. Then tell us one interesting fact about yourself.

You can download the audition scene (NOW REMOVED)

Below are instructions on how to send us your video privately via YouTube.
All videos will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

If you would like to tell your friends about this opportunity please check out ourfacebook page.

Good luck!

How to submit your audition video:

1) Go to www.youtube.com

2) In the top right, click Create Account, you will need an email address. Or log in if you already have an account.

3) Once you’re account is active, you can upload your video. To the right of the search bar, click Upload.

4) Choose Upload Video and select the file from your computer.

5) While the videos uploading, give the video a title. The title should be the name of the character you’re auditioning for, followed by your name.

6) Under description, you’ll need to provide a contact detail email for us to get in touch with you should you be successful.

7) Tags and category can be left blank.

8) Under privacy, select Private.

9) Click Save Changes, and wait for you video to finish uploading.

10) Once completed, click on your username in the top right hand corner and go to My Videos

11) You’re video will appear, select Edit

12) Scroll down to Broadcasting and Sharing Options, select Private.

13) When asked who to share the video with, enter the username spinteractive1.

14) Click Send, and the video will come to us.